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Athelstaneford

The following lengthy quotation about the parish of Athelstaneford comes from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by Francis Groome, published in London, 1903.

Athelstaneford, a village and a parish of N Central Haddingtonshire. The village is 3 miles NNE of Haddington, and has a post office under Drem, another post office hamlet in this parish, 2½ miles to the NNW, with money order, savings bank, and telegraph departments, and the junction of the North Berwick branch of the North British railway. The name Athelstaneford is supposed to commemorate a victory of Hungus or Angus mac Fergus King of the Picts (731-761), and founder of St Andrews over one Athelstane, 'dux' or commander of Eadbert King of Northumbria (Skene Celt. Scot., i. 299).
The parish is bounded N by Dirleton and North Berwick, NE, E, and SE by Prestonkirk, and S and W by Haddington. Its greatest length from E to W is 4½ miles; its greatest breadth is only 2½ miles; and its area is 5080¼ acres, of which 3½ are water, and 16½ were detached, which the Boundary Commissioners transferred to the parish of Prestonkirk. The surface rises in the W to over 400 feet above sea-level; consists mainly of a broad-based ridge, extending E and W between the two PEFFER BURNS; and, excepting some 40 acres of hill pasturage and about 210 under wood, is all arable. The rocks are chiefly different kinds of trap, overlying, or thought to overlie, the coal measures. The former have been quarried, and some beautiful specimens of rock crystal found ; but various searches for coal have had little or no success. The parish, till 1658, comprised not more than 1000 acres, and all belonged to the Earl of Wintoun, whose seat of Garlton is now a complete ruin; but then it was enlarged by annexations from Prestonkirk and Haddington. At present 7 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 1 holds between £100 and £500, 1 between £50 and £100 ; but the only large mansion is Gilmerton House, which, with about one-third of the entire parish, belongs to Sir Alexander Kinloch (b. 1830, s. 1879), tenth holder of a baronetcy created in 1686. Illustrious natives were Thomas Gwilliam, provincial of the Dominicans of Scotland, and 'the first man from Whome Mr Knox receaved anie taste of the truthe'; Sir John Hepburn (1598-1636), field-marshal of France in the Thirty Years War; and Robert Blair of Avontoun (1741-1811), Lord President of the Court of Session. The last was son of the author of the 'Grave', who was minister of Athelstaneford from 1731 to 1746, and whose successor, John Home (1746-57), here wrote his tragedy of Douglas. This parish is in the presbytery of Haddington and synod of Lothlan and Tweeddale; the living is worth £325, with glebe. There are some remains of the church that Ada, Countess of Northumberland, built about 1178, and granted to her Cistercian nunnery of Haddington. A new parish church of 1780 gave place in 1868 to the
present building (500 sittings; cost, over £1500). A public school, with accommodation for 164 children, had (1891) an average attendance of 98, and a grant of £83 2s. 10d. Valuation (1892) £9357, 1s. Pop. (1831) 931, (1861) 902, (1881) 762, (1891)745.


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Last updated 5 March 2003